Vomiting (vomit, sickness or medically emesis) is described as nervous mediated defensive reflex by which stomach content is eliminated from the body. It is not present only in diseases affecting the digestive tract, however. Vomiting can be triggered by many pathological conditions, sometimes even in full health. It is therefore very important to reveal the proper cause for the vomiting and find appropriate cure.
Causes of Vomiting
Vomiting is a reflex mediated by vomiting centre in medulla oblongata. This centre receives information from all the body; on the basis of this information vomiting is triggered. Vomiting is often present in diseases of digestive tract, such as inflammation of stomach, pancreas, gallbladder; less often stomach ulcer, narrowing of the digestive tube, and other. In case of some unpleasant smell or view, vomiting reflex is triggered by cerebral cortex. It is a natural way how human body eliminates danger of poisonous and toxic substances. Balance system can also be responsible for vomiting. This occurs typically on boats, roller coasters or when travelling in a transport vehicle. Less common causes for vomiting are brain injuries, intracranial hypertension or migraine. Tragic group of vomiting triggers is formed by tumours, either of digestive tract (stomach, pancreas), or anywhere in the body (brain tumour, lung cancer). Especially young girls and women sometimes suffer from vomiting due to bulimia; psychical disease during which patients first consume great amount of food and consequently self-induce vomiting because of compunction. Even though in this disease vomiting is self-induced, the esophagus is damaged with all its consequences. Last but not least, vomiting can be induced by some medicaments – antibiotics, cancer chemotherapy, antiarrhythmics, and oral antidiabetics.
Symptoms of Vomiting
Vomiting is a defensive reflex by which stomach content is eliminated from the body. Vomiting is often preceded by nausea, salivation, sometimes dizziness resulting from pressure drop and slowing of heart frequency. At the beginning of a vomit, there first comes a deep breath, consequently airways close and strong contraction of the abdominal muscles and diaphragm squeezes stomach content out of the body. During vomiting esophageal muscles are relaxed.
Therapy for Vomiting
Light vomiting subsides spontaneously with no need for specific therapy. It is necessary to supplement lost fluids and minerals, therefore drinking mineral water or unsweetened tea is recommended. In case of heavy vomiting, treatment by medicaments is necessary. Most often antiemetics are used, that means drugs against vomiting. It can be administered either orally or parenterally through a vein - in case of continuously vomiting or unconscious patient.
Complications of Vomiting
Vomiting is a very important defensive reflex in human body but if it comes often and in short intervals, it can be very unpleasant conditions for the patient. One of vomiting complications is so-called dehydration, great loss of fluids that can be life-threatening in children and older people. Repeated vomiting can also harm wall of the esophagus, small ruptures may develop. The gastric acid on the other hand can affect teeth quality; it usually supports dental caries development. Careful dental hygiene is essential when repeatedly vomiting. Very dangerous is also inhaling of the vomit, resulting in most cases in acute lung infection, sometimes even in the risk of suffocation.
Vomiting is on one hand very important defensive reflex; on the other hand it can produce many complications. If vomiting develops and is long-lasting, it is absolutely necessary to find out the underlying cause and eliminate it because negative consequences to the body can be very unpleasant and dangerous.